Fentanyl overdoses in Florida by the numbers

Posted at 11:01 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 04:04:23-05

Fentanyl is an opioid, like morphine. The drug is used to treat severe chronic pains.

It is often prescribed when other pain medicines no longer work.

RELATED: Fentanyl causing deaths to skyrocket

Fentanyl can lead to drug dependency, which means that your body ‘expects’ the drug daily after you've used it for a while.

Statewide, fentanyl was found to be the 7th leading cause of drug-caused deaths in Florida in 2014, putting it on par with heroin.

With fentanyl being the cause of 80 overdoses in 2014, Palm Beach County had more fentanyl deaths than any other area in the state.

Partial 2015  Medical Examiner records obtained by NewsChannel5 show that in Palm Beach County fentanyl is the 4th most prevalent drug in overdose deaths.

The rise of fentanyl deaths in the state has been sizeable, almost tripling in three years, from 136 in 2012 to a whopping 397 in 2014.

People who die of overdoses often have more than one drug in their system.

NewsChannel5 has found that in Palm Beach County in 2015, of the people who overdosed, two out of three had more than four different drugs in their system; some as many as twelve.

In Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach (10), Delray Beach (9), Boca Raton (8) and Lake Worth (7) saw the most fentanyl deaths from January to September 2015.

Two out of three fentanyl deaths were men, half of the fentanyl deaths in Palm Beach County were people under the age of forty and all but two were white.

The youngest victim of fentanyl in our area in 2015 was a baby girl in Canal Point, who during the autopsy was found to have fentanyl, heroin and morphine in her system.


Read the annual report 'Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by Florida Medical Examiners'.